Some people are meditation gurus who can sit quietly, peacefully in the zone for an hour or more. Everyone else thinks of grocery lists, deadlines and missing socks while trying to will a clear, concentrated mind. We need help. I want to be naturally mindful and still, but my brain rebels against the “break” and slides into multitask mode.
I needed a guide to help my meditation mojo, but had zero time to attend a group session. After trying and not loving two different apps, I downloaded the rock star Calm Meditation app to my phone. Calm is meditation inspo on steroids. It’s become my new fave. Calm’s home screen is a charming background picture and has three icons repping your choices. View your profile, meditate or choose a new scene. It’s clutter free and straightforward.
The guided meditation starts off a relaxing vibe with a soothing female voice that welcomes you to the app. In the free version, you can choose up to four scenes to load. Do you daydream about waves lapping a sunny shore, rain falling in a lush forest or fluffy clouds? The paid version allows access to over two dozen nature scenes. In settings, you can set up a daily reminder so you don’t miss out on a session.
The visuals are dream-like. Even though you’ll mostly have your eyes closed, the app has detailed designs. Its free 7 days of Calm program, baby steps you into a mindfulness practice. The first episode lasts about 10 minutes. Even the most scattered multi tasker can justify stillness for 10 minutes.
The Programs and Menus
In the free version, there are options for an unguided meditation and two timed sessions that focus on easing tension or checking in with a body scan. These programs supplement the 7 days of Calm intro. The 7 day programs for sleep, focus, gratitude and more are part of the subscription version. Also, a longer 21 days of calm program continues your progress once you subscribe. In addition, the paid version has over 20 customizable stand alone sessions. You can choose a focus and boost your time meditating with a tap in their customizable menu.
The free and subscriber version of the app tracks your progress when opened. It shows stats like the total time you’ve spent meditating from all sessions and how many continuous days you’ve practiced. The developers also created a link for you to gift a frazzled friend the app and a link to email them feedback about your Calm experience.
To get all available sessions you have to subscribe to Calm for $4 per month for an upfront yearly subscription and $10 per month for pay as you go. The recurring cost can be a legitimate issue if you have an uber strict budget. Luckily, you have access to about 10 free sessions to help you decide if the subscription cost is worth it.
I heart Calm; it’s my go to meditation app. If you have a bonkers work week or a crazy life and can’t ditch the stress, give the free version a try. It’s a great way to begin a meditation practice. I feel clear, present and centered after a Calm session. It lives up to its name and literally gets me to calm down and just be.
Where to Get it: iTunes Store, Google Play Store
Cost: Free, $4-10 monthly
Pros: Easy to use, Gorgeous visuals, Tracks your progress
Cons: Recurring cost, Restricted content in free version